News: After growing criticism Parliament condemns recent atrocities in west Wollega, other areas

Center: Speaker of the House Tagesse Chafo

Addis Abeba – The House of Peoples’ Representatives it strongly condemns the recent massacres of civilians in West Wollega and elsewhere in the country. The House issued the condemnation after a discussion between the leadership of the security and senior members of the House on current national issues.

The speaker of the House, Tagesse Chafo, came under criticism after four members of parliament representing the NaMA walked out of an ongoing parliamentary session, protesting against the Speaker’s refusal to include the killing in western Oromia of mainly Amhara community members as agenda item following the request from MP Desalegn Chane (PhD).

There were also growing public discontent after the Parliament failed to issue national mourning day for the victims of the atrocities on 18 June in Tole kebelle, west Wollega zone in Oromia regional state.

In addition to the criticism, the opposition NaMA also requested the speaker to call on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to appear before Parliament to explain why his government is “unable to stop the ongoing genocide against the people of Amhara, and why it has not been able to provide adequate support to the victims who are displaced by the recent attack in Western Oromia, at a time when PM Abiy Ahmed and his government repeatedly state that “they have built the capacity and enough security forces to ensure the security of our country and its people.”

The Parliament did not respond to the request, but aid MPs “:will work with the concerned parties to address the urgent issues that need to be addressed,” including working with the security apparatus and other government bodies “for the survival of our people.”

Billene Seyoum, Spokeswoman at office of the Prime Minister has told foreign media correspondents Thursday that 338 people were killed in the attack, which is blamed on the rebel group, Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), referred to by the government as “OLF/Shene.” But the group has denied involvement and called for an independent investigation.

The UN Commission of Human Rights on Ethiopia said yesterday that it “received reports of the killings of between 200 and 500 civilians in an alleged massacre in Western Oromia, which we are investigating.”

“The Commission of Human Rights on Ethiopia is alarmed about continuing reports of alleged violations of international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law across the country, with civilians bearing the brunt of the suffering.”

The commission has submitted its first report to the U.N. Human Rights Council Thursday in which it expressed concerns that “the continuing violence & restrictions imposed by various parties have resulted in a complex humanitarian crisis, which, coupled with drought, has exacerbated the misery of millions of Ethiopians and spurred the flight of tens of 1000s of others to neighboring countries.”

Commission chair Kaari Betty Murungi told the U.N. that “any spread of violence against civilians, fueled either by hate speech or incitement to ethnic-based or gender-based violence, are early warning indicators and a precursor for further atrocity crimes.” According to her, “these and the protracted humanitarian crisis including blockades to food and medical aid, supplies and services pose grave risk to the Ethiopian civilian population and to people in the region.” AS

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